BRYAN -- Mississippi State will open the 2012 season September 1 at home against Jackson State. The following week is a huge game, as the Bulldogs will face Auburn in their Southeastern Conference opener for the fifth straight year. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen knows just how big the game is. "That is the most important game I think you play within the conference because it is your first game. To get that win in the opening game in conference is critical because it sets the stage for the rest of the year. If you win that game you are two games ahead of the team you just played because you hold the tiebreaker. Not only are you 1-0 but against that specific team you are two games ahead."
Getting off to a fast start may be even more critical for teams like Mississippi State that have to play in a very tough west division where some of the best teams in college football play. Bulldog defensive back Johnthan Banks says you never know what to expect. "You have guys like Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas guys that are coming in there with better athletes than you so you just have to go up there and play hard and be physical and be smart."
The Mississippi State offense will be led by junior quarterback Tyler Russell. He will work closely with a man Aggie fans know. Les Koenning is the Bulldogs offensive coordinator. He held the same position at Texas A&M from 2003 to 2007. Russell seems to be comfortable working with Koenning. "Coach Koenning knows a lot of offense and he puts me in the best situation and he comes to me and asks me the things that I like and things that i don't like and I think we work hand in hand together."
Mississippi State will host Texas A&M November 3 at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Mississippi.